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Lady Gaga Launches Social Network for 'Little Monsters,' Backplane CEO Talks Online Fan Identity

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After several months in invite-only beta phase, Lady Gaga's fan-based social network Little Monsters has gone public. Borrowing popular features from Tumblr, Pinterest, Reddit, Facebook and Ticketmaster, the extensive website allows fans to post photos, share memes, chat with other Monsters and purchase concert tickets.

Little Monsters was created in collaboration with Backplane, a Palo Alto-based startup specializing in online communities. Gaga's manager, Troy Carter, cofounded Backplane, and the pop star herself is a major investor.

"You can go on somebody's Facebook profile and see they like Lady Gaga, but you don't know to what degree," Backplane CEO Matt Michelsen told Rolling Stone. "Little Monsters shows how many concerts they've attended and their overall level of participation around a common interest."

Intuitively, every registered member automatically becomes a fan of Lady Gaga, and so far the site counts over 180,000 members worldwide. One distinctive feature of Little Monsters is multilingual chat rooms. Backplane's proprietary instant translation feature facilitates dialogue among Gaga's international audience.

Michelsen believes that the Backplane community experience can work for other artists such as Guns N' Roses and Green Day. In the fourth quarter, Backplane will unveil a product that merges interests across different communities, thus allowing fans to tailor their individual identity.

"So a Christian Little Monster from New York who likes Nike can be connected to all his interests," Michelsen explained. Coincidentally, a Backplane community for Nike is expected in the next few weeks. A Backplane mobile app is also in the works, with early screenshots of the product suggesting a similar look and feel to the mobile social app Path.

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